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Let's Go Native (1930)

Dress designer Joan Wood, who's heavily in debt, has created costumes for a Broadway show that is exported to Argentina. With the money she wants to pay her debts, but there was a mistake: ... See full summary »


Leo McCarey


Percy Heath (screenplay), George Marion Jr. (screenplay) | 2 more credits »


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Complete credited cast:
Jack Oakie ... Voltaire McGinnis
Jeanette MacDonald ... Joan Wood
Richard 'Skeets' Gallagher ... King Jerry
James Hall ... Wally Wendell
William Austin ... Basil Pistol
Kay Francis ... Constance Cook
David Newell ... Chief Officer Williams
Charles Sellon ... Wallace Wendell Sr.
Eugene Pallette ... Deputy Sheriff 'Careful' Cuthbert


Dress designer Joan Wood, who's heavily in debt, has created costumes for a Broadway show that is exported to Argentina. With the money she wants to pay her debts, but there was a mistake: she is receiving the money in Buenos Aires, not in New York. Her friend Wally Wendell, whose grandfather does not approve of his relationship with her, wants him to marry a girl he hasn't seen for some years named Constance Cook, whose grandfather is the owner of a ship traveling to Buenos Aires and Constance is one of the passengers. Wally's friend Basil has caused a freak accident with Voltair McGuines' cab, who wants his money for the damage. Basil asks Wally, but he has been disinherited and lost all credit by his grandfather, because he still wants Joan. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Paramount's wild, merry, mad hilarious farce!


Comedy | Musical








Release Date:

16 August 1930 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Naufrágio Amoroso See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


One of over 700 Paramount Productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since. See more »


[Jerry had been the only man on an island populated by women.]
Jerry: It was one of the Virgin Islands, but it drifted.
See more »


I've Gotta Yen For You
Lyrics by George Marion Jr.
Music by Richard A. Whiting
Copyright 1930 by Famous Music Corp.
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User Reviews

Strenuously wacky
30 July 2016 | by wmorrow59See all my reviews

Movies don't get much sillier than this one. From the looks of it, the folks who made Let's Go Native wanted only to entertain undemanding viewers with a lightweight, zippy comedy, one that offers a few laughs and a handful of musical numbers tossed in at random moments. In this, they succeeded. Whether or not it might still entertain viewers today depends entirely on the individual's taste for buffoonery, disposable songs, and Jack Oakie. I happened to see this film last night at the Museum of Modern Art, where it was shown as part of a retrospective saluting director Leo McCarey. The recently restored print looked and sounded great. The crowd chuckled indulgently at some of the punchlines, and groaned at others. This is the kind of flick obviously aimed at what they used to call the "tired businessman." I'm not a businessman, but I was kind of sleepy and it worked for me.

Oakie plays a cab driver named Voltaire—don't ask—whose cab gets wrecked, thanks to a silly Englishman named Pistol (William Austin), who is involved in some way I don't recall at the moment with a costume designer named Joan (Jeanette MacDonald), who is broke, because all her money is invested in a traveling revue. Joan, in turn, is involved with a young man named Wally (James Hall), who was disinherited because of his involvement with her. Wally, for his part, is reluctantly involved with an heiress named Constance (Kay Francis), to whom he was betrothed against his wishes. Of course, none of this matters at all, and never did. We're here for the gags, which are hit-or-miss, and the songs, which sound like they were written on the set just before the cameras rolled.

Are there any valid reasons to seek out Let's Go Native? Well, if you enjoy silent era slapstick you'll surely get a kick out of the opening sequence, when Joan's furniture is repossessed by a team of the most inept, accident prone moving men who are not named Laurel or Hardy. And indeed, for this sequence director McCarey employed a number of veteran comics he'd known at the Hal Roach Studio, including Charlie Hall and Harry Bernard. The crew foreman is played by gravel voiced Eugene Palette, also a Roach Studio graduate, who would seldom take on such strenuous roles in his prolific talkie career. If you ever wanted to see him take acrobatic falls and break large objects, here's your chance. Soon afterwards, Oakie's cab gets into a wild chase while Austin hangs from an open car door, and from the looks of it, he did some of his own stunt work. The punchline, when the cab crashes directly into a police station, is right out of the Keystone textbook.

You'd think Miss MacDonald would be profoundly out of place in a movie like this one, but she's just as spirited and lively in Let's Go Native as she is in her Lubitsch vehicles, where her material was considerably more polished. Kay Francis, another good sport, appears abruptly mid-way. She's elegantly attired, plays well with others, and even sings a song without embarrassing herself. But for me, the biggest surprise is Jack Oakie. I've seen him in a number of movies without ever becoming a particular fan, and sometimes he's downright annoying, but I have to say he acquits himself well here. He looks remarkably trim, sings three songs, and even dances passably well. As ever, his comic shtick is a matter of taste, but you have to give the guy credit, he carries this picture, and provides much of its entertainment value.

The director's guidance can be discerned not only in the slapstick gags with the moving men, but also in a shipboard routine, when a minor conflict between passengers and crew members gradually escalates into a melee, as people grab each other's hats and fling them overboard. (Personally I found this business a little forced, but the audience at MoMA seemed to enjoy it.) But then, when the liner collides with a smaller ship, we're suddenly in a serious situation. The panic feels genuine, and frantic cross-cutting only emphasizes the sharp change in tone. Not to worry, however. No one is hurt, and our principle players wind up on a desert island, where the silliness resumes. There are native girls with Brooklyn accents, and a self-proclaimed King (Skeets Gallagher). Increasingly, the picture feels like a live action Fleischer cartoon. Just as the whole enterprise threatens to run out of gas, a volcano erupts. The island breaks apart. A rescue ship beckons. Plot strands are hastily tied up, and before you know it we're looking at that familiar Paramount mountain logo, only without any lava.

Needless to say, director McCarey went on to make far better movies than Let's Go Native. If they'd bothered to hire some decent gag writers to punch up the script, it could have been on par with such classics of wackiness as Million Dollar Legs or We're Not Dressing, both made at Paramount within a few years, each of which it resembles. Even so, this curious flick presumably kept patrons happy at the time. It's like a big box of buttered popcorn, low on nutritional value, but perfectly okay for a summer evening, whether or not you're a tired businessman.

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